Wang on Trial
China’s government on Monday began the trial of Wang Lijun, the senior Communist Party police official who sought to defect to a U.S. consulate but was turned away, with a secret hearing in southern China.
Wang has been charged with “defection” and abuse of authority. The Chinese term for the crime of defection is a combination of treason and flight.
Plans to file the treason charges were first reported by the Free Beacon Aug. 16.
China’s government appears to have timed the trial to coincide with the visit to Beijing by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Observers say the timing suggests Chinese officials are sending a political signal to other potential defectors who, like Wang, might seek to cooperate with the United States, a country portrayed daily in state-controlled media as China’s main enemy.
Wang set off China’s biggest political scandal in decades on Feb. 6 when he sought refuge at the U.S. Consulate Chengdu, in southern China, after fleeing the neighboring city of Chongqing and his former boss, Communist Party regional chief Bo Xilai.